Design as a Force for Good

written by arielle

Last year, my classmates and I in Red River College’s graphic design program had the pleasure of having Andrew Boardman as our Design History instructor, so imagine my delight when I found out that I would be attending my work placement at his studio, Manoverboard. Andrew taught us that design and designers are powerful and have shaped the world, so beyond learning about Manoverboard’s design work, I was excited to learn what drives them as a studio.

During my work placement, I had the opportunity to work on several diverse projects. First was an icon set for the Arab-American Family Support Center’s website. I was given the task of creating small graphics for statistical information that would be featured on their new website. This is my first-ever design work that can be seen live by the public! You can see them in use on the organization’s about page now.

I also had the chance to work on a logotype for Manoverboard’s 2018 Purpose Project client (Spence Neighborhood Association) and developed an initial identity for Little Theme, an internal project that the studio is undertaking to improve awareness about the carbon footprint of the Internet and which will serve as an extension of their website.

All these projects are tied together by their purpose to serve a greater good. Working on the icons and identities demonstrated for me what purpose-driven design means: creating social and environmental impact through structured visual communications. In implementing an engaging website or giving a strong platform to the voice of an organization, Manoverboard helps to make the world a better place through design.

I remember our first class in design history and Andrew’s wise words on the impact that graphic designers can have on the world—ideally for the better! Through design we can start wars and put people into power; we can help people understand how to save the planet from climate change; we can change our understanding of our relationship with the world, and with each other. This is more relevant than ever. My work placement at Manoverboard has reinforced my belief that whatever I do, I want to do it for a good cause.

What makes Manoverboard truly good is the friendliest, most impassioned team behind it. Andrew, Jory, Dan, and Nikki are amazing people who welcomed me with a lot of heart, over the best sandwiches from Crusty Bun and chats about video games, and they gave me valuable guidance about design process, mood boards, and web development. I also appreciated the squirrels pitter-pattering within the walls of Manoverboard’s beautiful building that were there for moral support.

Thank you so much for hosting me these past two weeks! There are things that I learned from each of you that I wouldn’t have learned anywhere else; it has been an amazing experience. My only regret is that the work placement period was not longer.

As a member organization of 1% for the Planet, Manoverboard gives the equivalent of one percent of all revenues to select nonprofit partners that are benefiting the environment.

Manoverboard is a Certified B Corporation, which means that we meet ongoing, rigorous standards of social and environmental performance, accountability, and transparency.